I was diagnosed with preeclampsia & HELLP class 1 at 30 weeks. I had never heard of it, it was never mentioned by my doctor nor any pregnancy books & apps. At this point I only had known about preeclampsia but very little about it.
I started having some symptoms at 25 weeks but was told it was normal. I began to have severe symptoms at 29 weeks.
I had a wonderful pregnancy. We were so happy to be parents & very excited we were having a boy. I had no complaints about anything. No nausea, heartburn, aches or pains. In fact I had energy, I never felt more amazing & beautiful. Daily walks with our 2 pitbulls & pomeranian in the morning. Bike rides in the late afternoon. I was working out daily for an hour or two. We were approved to rent the beautiful house we wanted & would be moving in shortly. My boyfriend has a high pay job which allowed me to stay at home & go to school. We had no worries. My only concern at this point was which designer diaper bag would I buy & planning my baby shower… I felt so lucky. Everything was perfect until it wasn't perfect anymore...
My hands, face, & feet began to swell up. I started feeling like I was sick all the time, I was constantly tired. When I had checkups, like always, everything was fine…"You’re pregnant is all… this is normal." I had the Glucose Test done that same week, results came back normal. So I didn't worry. But the next morning my left foot was swollen beyond the normal. I couldn't walk on it, even then my doctor said it was normal & no you do not have preeclampsia. I was worried, but the baby was fine. On our 5th year anniversary we had a 3D/4D ultrasound done. We got to see a little preview of our Prince, I remember thinking wow he's beautiful & so healthy. So I let go of my worries & had a great time on our baby moon in San Francisco. That was the last "Normal" week.
By 29 weeks I couldn't deny how horrible I felt. It started with "heartburn" & tight pains in my lower abdomen after dinner, by 2 a.m. the pain was contestant & now felt like contractions ripping me apart. My boyfriend nervously rushed me to Labor & delivery. They evaluated me, ran tests, & monitored me closely. They gave me medicine for the heart burn, which only made me vomit like Regan from The Exorcist. The pain grew until finally they sedated me with morphine. As I fell into a sleepy trance they did a ultrasound on my baby & my body organs. After long 15 hours I was released from the hospital. With a not 100% sure diagnoses of Gastritis & Braxton hicks. I joked to my friends "Thank god I'm coming home with a Starbucks & not a baby." I really didn't have a clue to what I was about to face. The morphine knocked me out the entire night & when I awoke the next morning. I was still in pain in my upper stomach & every few hours contractions. The weekend passed & nothing changed. I was taken to labor & delivery that Monday. They didn't do much this time, besides send me home on bed rest, Tums, & another medical bill.
The rest of the week was a nightmare. The only thing that kept me happy was feeling my son kick, other than that I know I was unhappy & in pain. I had just turned 30 weeks & I will never forget the pain I had to endure that Friday night. I'm not one who easily cries but that night I cried my eyes out in agony while my boyfriend tried to console me in every way he could. We felt helpless, I felt crippled by pain. By midnight my boyfriend had fallen asleep & had to be at work by 5. I didn't want to wake him so I was in our bedroom bathroom pacing back & fourth, I didn't know what to do. Sharp pains hit me like knives, I couldn't breathe, & then everything went black. I hit the cold tile & passed out.
When I woke up, I called my mother to take me back to the labor & delivery. The same doctor I had seen only a week ago walked into my room, I explained my symptoms… again. He did a cervix check, drew some more bloods for lab tests, & told the nurse to hook me up to IV because I was dehydrated. After 3 hours the nurse came back & began to remove my IV, she told me I was being released. The doctor came in told me they're just waiting on labs to come back. He explained there’s nothing they could do at this point, they don't know what's wrong so they can't do anything. He walked out & my mom chased him down. I actually smiled for the first time in a while as I heard her yelling at him. My mom was calling a friend of hers who was one of the head doctors in labor & delivery in a nearby hospital. He agreed to take me in, so I felt somewhat at ease.
My L&D doctor rushed in. His face said it all, something was wrong. "I'm sorry I can't let you go home tonight, or tomorrow... or the next day, Liliana you have Toxemia. You may have to give birth this morning." I was stunned all I could manage to mutter was a "what?" He explained to me what toxemia or preeclampsia is. He explained all the risks to me & my baby. I started to cry, I couldn't have my baby 10 weeks early. In a matter of minutes they transferred me into my own room. Everything was happening so quickly. I didn't understand what they were talking about; all I could hear is Prep for C-section, call NICU, More tests, more blood labs, & more ultra sounds.
The ultrasounds revealed severe swelling in my liver. They estimated any longer without the proper medical care I would've only lived 5 hours at the most. Blood test revealed my blood platelet count was below 120. They told me they couldn't preform a C-section now because my blood pressure was too high for them even attempt a C-section. I would've gone into a coma or died on the operating table. I was relieved I wouldn't have to give birth that night. They put me on a magnesium drip & some other medications to keep from having a seizure & keep me relaxed. My blood pressure was being checked hourly, I was getting blood drawn every 4 hours. They gave me two steroid shots for his lung development. I wasn't allowed to drink or eat for 24 hours. I couldn't sleep. I was trying to prepare myself for what was to come. But reality set in. I wasn't ready at all. I was scared for him, not for myself, only for him.
The next day my blood platelet count dropped again but by some miracle I stabilized that night. I thought maybe I could go home & I could be monitored. I just wanted to go home & not be here. My hopes were quickly crushed by my doctor when she told me I had HELLP class 1. I was blank, I had no idea what that was, never heard about it or anyone having it. After everyone left, I Googled it myself & I became angry. Why me, why my baby, why? I was filled with anger. At my doctor for ignoring me & suspicions from the start, at the L&D doctors who should've known all along. My stepfather, who is a pastor, was there every single day with my mom. They prayed for with us, for us, we had all the prayers of everyone from his church, from family, & from our friends. That was the only thing that got me through that hellish weekend.
They came to induce me Monday morning at 6 a.m. Shortly after the induction I began to have chest pains & had a hard time breathing. The Blood labs came back. My blood platelet count was low again & below 100. They began prepping me for C-section for the 6th & final time. I was so scared I couldn't stop shaking. With my boyfriend by my side, we talked about the fun times, the day we met, & how excited we were to be parents. At 10:51 a.m. I heard them shout, “Happy birthday Roman!” I heard a loud cry a few seconds later, when I first saw Roman. I cried. Such a beautiful little boy, he looked fine just small. 3 lbs 2 oz, 15 inches long. My baby was perfect. After two hours in recovery they wheeled me in to see him, I saw him for a minute & was then wheeled to my recovery room. That night I saw him once more for about 15 minutes. I didn't want to leave I wanted to be by his side all night."